Got cucumbers? I have to say that this is currently my favorite cold soup. My friend Carol served this to me for dinner last week and I couldn't wait to share the recipe. Cool, creamy, tangy and a bit spicy but what was surprising was the tarragon and mint combination, so different and absolutely perfect. Super easy, this soup goes together in minutes in the food processor or blender. Then, just chill (the soup) and eat!
Chilled Cucumber Soup with Tarragon & Mint
2 lbs cucumbers, *peeled, seeded and chunked (Armenian, English or garden variety)
1 avocado, cut in 1/2" dice
2 cup buttermilk
2 T fresh tarragon
2 T fresh mint
2 t white wine vinegar
1-2 t sugar depending on your cucumbers and your preference to sweetness
1 t kosher salt
1/2 t pepper
1 serrano chile pepper, diced (optional) My friend John loves hot peppers so he added a serrano to the soup. I have to say, I did like the kick!
Dice a bit of cucumber to reserve for garnish. Place the rest of the ingredients in a blender or food processor and and purée until smooth. At this point you can serve as is or **strain through a sieve for a more delicate and smooth presentation. Chill, taste for seasoning and serve garnished with the reserved diced cucumber and a sprig of mint.
*I used English cucumbers but decided to leave the skin on which resulted in the soup being more green in color. If the skin is not bitter or tough, you can leave it on, up to you. The soup will be a bit more pale in color if you skin them.
**I strained my soup which made it very velvety and smooth. You can serve it either way, chunkier (do not strain) or smooth (strain).
Oh the joy of a homegrown summer peach! You know the kind—the ones that smell like a peach and taste like a peach. A “drip down your arm as you bite into it” peach—the kind that are so hard to find in the grocery store these days. Luckily I have my friend Chris Parker, owner of the Courtwood Inn, here in Murphys. She recently brought me a bag full of gorgeous peaches from the trees in her yard. "What can you make with these that I can serve to my Inn guests for breakfast?" she asked. I think this recipe is just the thing. Creamy without using cream, spicy with cinnamon and nutmeg and peaches that pop with the color of a 'sunny side up' egg. Serve with the sauce and whipped cream for a great dessert or with tangy yogurt for a tasty summer breakfast. Add a side of salty bacon or sausage for the perfect brunch.
Just Peachy Bread Pudding
6 T butter
8 cups day-old French bread with the crust on, cut or torn into bite sized pieces
3 cups whole milk
1 3/4 cups sugar, divided
6 large peaches, *peeled and sliced lengthwise into 1/4" slices
6 large eggs
1 T vanilla
1 T cinnamon
1/2 t freshly ground nutmeg
1/2 t kosher salt
3 - 4 T brandy
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Butter a 10" x 14" baking dish. Put the bread pieces in the baking dish and pour the milk over them, stirring to coat all the pieces. Let soak for about 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.
Meanwhile, melt the butter with 3/4 cup of sugar in a large frying pan over medium heat. Add the sliced peaches and cook 1-2 minutes until they release their juices. Strain into a bowl and reserve. Whisk the eggs, 1 cup of sugar, vanilla, cinnamon, salt and nutmeg. Pour over bread and stir to combine. Fold in peaches. Put the baking dish in a large roasting pan, put in the oven and fill with very hot water to come halfway up the side. Bake until the pudding is browned, puffy and firm when pressed, about 1 hour.
Simmer the reserved juices until steaming. Whisk in the brandy. Serve the pudding with the sauce and whipped cream.
*the peaches I used were easy to peel by just pulling the skin away from the flesh. I usually have to get some boiling water going, cut an 'X' in the bottom of the peach and then submerge in the boiling water for about a minute until the skin peels off easily, just like you would do a tomato.
As a caterer for over 30 years, I have established a reputation for consistently creating original menus inspired by the occasion and the season, presenting them with an ease and elegance uniquely my own. Fresh, locally-sourced ingredients are the basis of my creative “from scratch” menus, which range from the classically elegant to rustic and whimsical.
"Love your recipes! Pat made your avocado toast a few weeks ago, delish! I'm taking them to a party in a few weeks, although the mushroom crostata looks pretty darn good!"